The brother of con man Bernie Madoff will plead guilty Friday morning to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and falsifying records for his alleged role in his brother's multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme, prosecutors said Wednesday, and will serve 10 years in federal prison.
Peter Madoff, once the chief compliance officer of Bernie Madoff's investment firm, will be the first member of the Madoff family other than Bernie to be charged in connection with the case. As part of his plea deal, he will agree to forfeit $143.1 billion dollars, "including all of his real and personal property," and not to seek a sentence other than 10 years in federal prison, the maximum allowed for both offenses.
Peter Madoff worked with his older brother for more than 40 years and was in charge of day-to-day operations for the final two decades of the firm's existence. Bernie's wife Ruth and sons Mark and Andrew also worked in the Madoff investment business, but all have denied any knowledge of wrongdoing.
A lawyer involved in the case says the government uses the $143 billion dollar figure so that Peter Madoff will have no claim to any cash or property he earned at any point in his career. It is unclear if the government will allow his wife to retain his New York home, a expansive Park Avenue co-op apartment. The government filing makes no mention of any possible action against Madoff's daughter Shana, who also worked for her uncle's investment operation.
Also still unresolved is whether the government will take any action against Bernie Madoff's son Andrew. In December 2010, Bernie's son Mark was found dead in his New York apartment after committing suicide on the second anniversary of his father's arrest.
Bernie Madoff, now 74, is currently serving 150 years in federal prison for fraud. In December 2008 he revealed to his sons that his investment business was a massive pyramid scheme. The resulting federal criminal complaint alleged that he had defrauded clients of $65 billion over 20 years.
Bernie Madoff was ordered to forfeit $170 billion, believed to be the total amount that had passed through all Madoff accounts. A court-appointed trustee has so far reached agreements to recover more than $9 billion for Madoff investors.